The closure marks an emotional end for patients, families and staff, many of whom lost loved ones, and some of whom found love within Walter Reed's white walls. During the Vietnam War, some nurses were said to have married their patients. And many children of heroes were born there.
"It's not the newest, nicest, shiniest building there is," said Kriesel, who was at Walter Reed during the 2007 scandal. "I was pissed because they made it sound like the majority of people weren't getting good care. But those doctors, those nurses, they chose to go to Walter Reed to help warriors come back and heal and lead normal lives. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for them putting me back together after I was hurt."
Kriesel visits his medical team, which he calls his family, once a year. Although he's sad to see the old hospital close, he said he's looks forward to visiting his family at their new digs in Bethesda.
"I love those people, and I can't thank them enough for what they do," he said.
The new facility, called the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, opens in September. The State Department and the District of Columbia will take over the Washington campus Sept. 15.
The Associate Press contributed to this story.